Expertise that enables

Community Energy Map and Database

Community Power Agency leads a collaborative effort to maintain the most up-to-date database of Australian community energy groups.  This data is then available for publishing into maps, sharing with other data-sets of community energy and for researchers and policy makers.

The Australian community energy database records the Groups (the organisations who organise projects), the Projects (the endeavours which result in sustainable energy installations) and Sites (the individual locations where sustainable energy has been installed).

Map of community energy groups in Australia

This map shows the community energy groups in Australia.

If your community organisation is planning (or has completed) a project to install sustainable energy, such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy infrastructure or energy services, then you’re probably a community energy group.  Typical examples include solar, wind, bulk-buy programs, energy efficiency, electric vehicle charging stations or even becoming a community-owned electricity retailer.  So long is it’s community behind the project then you’ll meet our definition of being community energy – that means the community has conceived, developed, owns or operates the project.  Sustainable energy products or services targeting communities or community members doesn’t equate to community energy – the community needs to be actively involved in the delivery of those products or services at some point.  Community-developer partnerships are valid, as are community-council partnerships.

To add your group to this map, please fill in this form

You can open this map of groups in new window for a larger view here

Source data on groups is available here

Energy Archipelago

Energy Archipelago is an international collaboration lead by Scene Consulting.  Community Power Agency are data partners for this global mapping resource.

 

 

Understanding CE in Australia

Challenges and Opportunities of the Sector in Australia

This report maps the status of community renewable energy (CORE) in Australia (as of 2013) and outlines the key barriers to and opportunities for action. It provides an evidence base for the actions needed to grow a vibrant CORE sector in Australia. The study surveyed 28 CORE projects at various stages of development and 9 organisations involved in supporting the CORE sector. The work was conducted by the Community Power Agency in collaboration with the Institute for Sustainable Futures and Backroad Connections and was funded by NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Renewable Energy Precincts program.

National Community Energy Strategy

One of the key initiatives of C4CE to date has been the development of a National Community Energy Strategy (NCES). The purpose of the National Community Energy Strategy is as a shared agenda – vision, set of objectives and priority initiatives – to grow a vibrant community energy sector across Australia. The NCES outlines 34 priority initiatives across five key areas. Community Power Agency was a partner in the development of the NCES and we are proud to be working to progress a number of the priority initiatives identified.

Community Energy Collective Impact Baseline Assessment

This report is part of the Australian National Community Energy Strategy and has been co-authored by Nicky Ison. It offers baseline data and an interesting preliminary overview of the contributions that community energy is making in and the challenges it is facing. The report is based on results of a national survey of community energy groups and stakeholder workshop, where a set of shared indicators was developed and later used to collect the baseline data and to develop recommendations and specifications for the development of an online Shared Measurement Platform (SMP) and measurement and reporting framework, including structures, processes and possible funding structures for the ongoing management and operation. Fifty three community energy groups were invited to participate in the baseline assessment, of these data was received from 27 groups.

Community Renewable Energy in Australia: Exploring its character & emergence in the context of climate change action

Community renewable energy (CRE) is a relatively new feature in the bouquet of climate change action and renewable energy deployment in Australia. This academic article has been written by Franziska Mey and Jarra Hicks and was presented at the International EMES Conference in June 2015 in Finland. The article explores the scope and character of CRE in Australia and theorise why it has emerged at this time. In doing this the authors draw on two national surveys of the nascent CRE movement, one conducted in 2011 and the other in 2014, and present an analysis of the key characteristics of CRE in Australia and how these have changed over this time period. We apply social movement theory to analyse its emergence at this time and to compare movement drivers in Australia with those in Germany and Denmark, where CRE is most well established. Please download the manuscript here.

 

 

resources

There are a wide number of community renewable energy resources out there that could help you understand what community energy is. Below are some of our favourites – some we have written and some from practitioners, government departments and research from across the world.

    How To guide      R4A_title_pic    NCES_Vertical1

Note web links to CORE projects operation and in development can be found in our CORE Map.

about community energy

Across the world communities are coming together to respond to fundamental challenges such as climate change, regional economic development and energy access and affordability. They are doing this through creating community owned and community run renewable energy projects. From wind to solar, bioenergy to water power there are literally thousands of community renewables projects across the world that are providing income, employment and energy for their regions. 

Community Renewable Energy (CORE for short) is an approach to renewable energy development that involves the community in initiating, developing, operating, owning and/or benefiting from the project. At the Community Power Agency we talk about the 4Ds of community energy, because they:

  • Decarbonise our energy supply through using renewable energy or low carbon technologies;
  • Decentralise and localize our energy supply; and
  • Democratise our energy governance through community ownership and participation;
  • Demonstrate that renewable energy works and brings lasting benefits.

Just as there is no one size fits all definition of ‘community’, there is no one definition of CORE. Indeed the sheer diversity of community renewable energy projects is what makes this sector so beneficial. These projects come in many shapes and sizes, growing from the diverse needs and available resources of the local community. It might be anything from PV on a school roof to a 4-turbine wind farm on the edge of town to a small hydro system owned by two nearby villages. Projects vary by technology, size, structure, governance and funding options. Even people’s motivations for setting such a project up vary. The diagram below, maps just some of the benefits and reasons why communities might develop CRE projects.

CORE presents a huge opportunity for communities across Australia, particularly in regional areas, to create a steady income stream to fund community development projects over the next 25+ years. Further, renewable energy projects that harness the power of the sun and wind do not threaten precious water supplies or compete with existing land practices. CORE is also a key way communities can cut their carbon footprint and become energy self-sufficient.

In urban areas, CORE allows renters and apartment owners to participate in the benefits of solar energy, even if they don’t own an appropriate roof space.

As part of our research into CORE  the Community Power Agency has developed a wealth of knowledge about models of CRE, motivations, benefits and development processes. Some are obvious, many are innovative and all are exciting. CORE is about bringing people together, doing it ourselves and collectively creating benefits that go beyond the individual.

The most comprehensive analysis of the operating community energy models in Australia can be found in the National Community Energy Strategy. Please download it here.